Position Statement about Domestic Hybrid Cats
The International Cat Association (“TICA”) officially recognizes different breeds resulting from domestic wild crosses as domestic cats including the Bengal, the Chausie and the Savannah cat breeds. Established in 1979, TICA is the largest genetic registry of cats worldwide.
TICA is very discerning and only accepts new domestic breeds that are docile and well suited to showing and placement in pet homes. TICA imposes strict requirements that must be met before a new breed can be accepted into our registry. These requirements include proof that the new breed results from crosses with domestic cats and meet the definition of a domestic animal in accordance with the US Federal Animal Welfare Act, live demonstrations before the TICA Board of Directors to introduce the proposed new breed and to demonstrate the domestic character of the cats, and the establishment of an official breed association responsible for interacting with the TICA Board of Directors and ensuring the breed is developed in a responsible manner appropriate for developing a domestic cat breed destined for the show ring and people’s homes.
Acceptance of a new breed for registration and show purposes requires the dedication of breeders for years to ensure these exciting breeds will be developed in a responsible manner and meet TICA’s exacting requirements and constant scrutiny. Any suspected problems would prompt TICA to take immediate action and if appropriate place a moratorium on any further advancement of the domestic hybrid breed in question.
All show cats, regardless of breed, must have an unchallenging disposition. This is requirement in every TICA standard. To understand that the domestic hybrid breeds are as docile as our other domestic cats, one must understand domestic cat history. Although domestic cats descend primarily from F. silvestris libyca which may have been living along side people in towns in Palestine as long as 7,000 years ago, actual domestication did not occur until 4,000 years ago in Egypt. Even after 4,000 years of domestication, our domestic cats still retain many of the same behaviors as their wild cousins – large and small. There is little reason to believe that our domestic cat’s behavior in noncaptive conditions would differ greatly from F. silvestris. The cat population on Macquarie Island has been feral since 1820. As would be expected from the behavior of F. silvestris, the feral cats sheltered in rabbit burrows, thick vegetation or rock piles and eating rabbits, rats, mice, birds and carrion. Unlike the domestic hybrid breeds, the Macquarie island cats are not bred in captivity and do not have close daily interactions with people. Selective breeding and human interaction contribute to making the personality of the domestic hybrid breeds indistinguishable from other domestic cats.
These wild look-alike domestic cat breeds provide a safe alternative for people who would otherwise have elected wild cat ownership. Their wild look and mild demeanors have made these breeds tremendously popular within the cat fancy and pet owners worldwide.